Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  17 reviews
(Applause Books). Defying Gravity takes readers into the creative world of Broadway and film composer Stephen Schwartz, from writing Godspell 's score at age 23 through the making of the megahit Wicked . For this first authorized biography, de Giere draws from 80 hours of interviews with Schwartz and over 100 interviews with his colleagues, friends, and family. Her sympath...more
Paperback, 535 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Applause Theatre & Cinema Book Publishers
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 116)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Christopher Kuczewski
I have always loved the music, lyrics, and creative mind of Stephen Schwartz, writer of the scores for GODSPELL, PIPPIN, THE MAGIC SHOW, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, Disney's POCAHONTAS and HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME, and the mega-hit WICKED. In fact, WICKED fast became my favorite musical theatre piece. But how did this musical go from the page to the stage? How do musicals go from an idea to readings and workshops to full productions?

The answer to these and many other questions lies in Carol De Giere's w...more
Michael Thomas Angelo
Nov 29, 2009 Michael Thomas Angelo marked it as to-read
I am obsessed with Wicked ever since I waited tables on the original Tony award winning cast that opened the show in San Francisco in 2003 while it was still in experimental stages. This book chronicles that journey that I was so fortunate to view from the fringes of fandom.
Dinosaur
I read this primarily for the Wicked portion (the only parts I've read so far) which was interesting especially from this perspective, but I still have to go through the rest of it pertaining to his other work.
John Kunich
This is by far the finest book ever written about the creative process in musical theatre. Carol de Giere has done an enormous service for all composers, lyricists, playwrights, and theatre-lovers with this intimate and in-depth examination of how Stephen Schwartz brought some of the greatest musicals to life.

If the book contained nothing more than the "Creativity Notes," it would still be worth ten times the retail price. These concise practical asides are overflowing with illuminating insight...more
Ian Gupton
As a complete novice to the world of performing arts, but one that I'm learning more about at the high school where I teach where we have an outstanding program, I thought that the pains and triumphs of the theater industry were extremely well-detailed through the perspective of Broadway lyricist and composer Stephen Schwartz. It was obvious that the author, Carol de Giere, spent a tremendous amount of time (8 years of research!!!) digging deep for details to create a narrative that not only sho...more
Britni
Amazon does a good job giving a brief synopsis of the book. Defying Gravity takes readers into the creative world of Broadway and film composer Stephen Schwartz, from writing Godspell's score at age 23 through the making of the megahit Wicked. For this first authorized biography, de Giere draws from 80 hours of interviews with Schwartz and over 100 interviews with his colleagues, friends, and family. Her sympathetic yet frank narrative reveals never-before-told stories and explores both Schwartz...more
Digne
I loved this book.

It's very straight forward and easy to read. But for a Creative biography, as opposed to a straight biography, I really got a feeling of who Schwartz is as a person. I enjoyed his frank comments on the difficulties he has faced in his career. The epilogue is fantastic (although I know he later got his name on that wall).

I've had this book for some time now and I've read bits of it before but this is the first time I have read it straight through. I felt that de Giere did a fine...more
Brent Ranalli
I grew up with Godspell and Pippin, and only recently I was delighted to discover, thanks in part to this book, just how much additional writing and composing Stephen Schwartz has has done. The book is a little homely (I hope no one will take offense at this observation), written as it is by an emerging author who came to the project with no musical or theater background to speak of, as she herself acknowledges. But Stephen Schwartz is a perennial outsider himself, so why not? He has his own loy...more
Jeff J.
An ambitious attempt at a biography of Stephen Schwartz, written with the cooperation of the author. Definitely paints a positive picture of the composer, but for all I know it's warranted. It gives a real sense of how collaborative the creation of a Broadway musical is, with over half the book detailing the evolution of Wicked to stage.
Nicki Markus
This was a very interesting book. I bought it after seeing a Stephen Schwartz concert and he signed the book for me. I did find some of the better jokes/stories that are in the book were familiar because Stephen had talked of them in the concert but there was still plenty of new information and anecdotes to keep my interest. Particularly, I enjoyed the extensive section charting the process of creating "Wicked" and the section on "Baker's Wife", which is a show I am very fond of.

What I liked mos...more
Garry
Great book - I loved it! I enjoyed getting the insider look at the creative career of Stephen Schwartz. If you're familiar with his work, you'll appreciate learning behind-the-scenes information directly from the source (for me, the Wicked section was especially enjoyable). It is inspirational, informative, and a valuable resource for me. It’s well written, enjoyable and I revisit it often.
Anthony
I love theater.. .and this book gives me a better idea of the luck and pluck that it takes to make it at a professional level... I can live vicarioulsy through the story of others.... If you have any interest in theater and how it is made.. or what it took to get some of my favorite shows up and running (Godspell, Pippin, Wicked....) then by all means, read it.
Randee
I really shouldn't rate this as I am not interested in such detailed analysis of composing though I certainly had no idea of the complexity involved in writing for Broadway or movies. I read it to see how many references were made to Carnegie Mellon and to people I might have known. How I loved those years and having "dramat" roommates and friends.
Kristen
I'm amused by the fact that WICKED tix are going on sale the day I get to the part where Stephen starts writing WICKED! A friend who had read an early draft of my own musical sent me Maguire's book around the time Schwartz aquired the rights... so I feel like we're kindred spirits. This is a great learning experience for me!
Cerredwyn Horrigan
de Giere takes us on a journey through the creative life of Stephen Schwartz. Her skilled writing makes the trip extremely enjoyable as we learn about Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked. The creative notes alone are worth the cost of the book for anyone involved in the Arts, be it writing or theatre.
Jean
Stephen Schwartz wrote the musical "Wicked"...This book talkes about his career starting with his first musical "Godspell"....I'm finding it very interesting
Scott W.
Just read the parts dealing with Godspell, it was very informative.
Megan Denecour
Megan Denecour marked it as to-read
May 19, 2014
Kenneth
Kenneth marked it as to-read
May 01, 2014
Jonathan Levit
Jonathan Levit marked it as to-read
Mar 13, 2014
Julianne
Julianne marked it as to-read
Mar 04, 2014
Gregg Mueller
Gregg Mueller marked it as to-read
Feb 28, 2014
Henry Hardwick
Henry Hardwick marked it as to-read
Feb 23, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
After "meeting" Stephen Schwartz by way of his website, Carol de Giere began writing the authorized career biography of this award-winning Broadway and film songwriter (who wrote scores for Godspell, Pippin, Wicked, and more). A former librarian, Carol studied writing and launched her freelance career with this project that involved over 80 hours of interviews with Schwartz as well as with his col...more
More about Carol de Giere...

Share This Book